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Hot Air

Image @ NASA.gov

Margot Roosevelt/LAT:
Climate law won't hurt California economy, report says

Iowa State University professor James Bushnell, a former UC Berkeley energy economist who chaired the group's economic impacts subcommittee, called the board's analysis "careful and competent. . . . The notion that this is going to somehow wreck the California economy is not credible."

Remarks for the Hard of Seeing

Now, it probably goes without saying that tonight’s vote will give rise to a frenzy of instant analysis. There will be tallies of Washington winners and losers, predictions about what it means for Democrats and Republicans, for my poll numbers, for my administration. But long after the debate fades away and the prognostication fades away and the dust settles, what will remain standing is not the government-run system some feared, or the status quo that serves the interests of the insurance industry, but a health care system that incorporates ideas from both parties -- a system that works better for the American people. [President Barack Obama, 3/21/2010]

Questions? I didn't think so.

Nothing Fair About Issac

AP: Credit scores can drop after getting loan help:

"The best way to build credit back is to continue to pay bills as agreed, to use credit wisely," said Tom Quinn, vice president of scoring solutions at Fair Issac Corp., which designed the well-known FICO score system. "As time goes on, the score gradually increases."

Back in the old days, the best gauge of what we now call 'creditworthiness' depended on comparing how much you made and saved against how much you owed. But since there were no such things as 'credit cards' for we ordinary mortals, every single bill that came in the door went back out with a check attached. If you had any money left over, you generally put it in savings. The bank was where you went for money for business, or to buy a home. (GMAC helped you buy that new BelAir). Make all your payments on time, you were considered a 'good risk'.

What's changed? What hasn't. These idiot financial 'ratings companies' have managed to completely reverse what constitutes a good credit risk. Now you *must* have credit, be in a state of constant debt, and carry cards with userious rates to get a *high* credit 'score'. Bass-f*cking-ackwards.

These guys punish people for doing the right thing. Pay off all your credit cards? Fine. Shred them? Go to the penalty box. Consolidate debt and reduce your interest rate by 50%? Fine. Pay off the debt early and build your savings account? That'll cost ya 100 points.


Pipelining Nukular Missiles

Image © BBC: Iran and Pakistan sign 'historic' pipeline deal:

Correspondents say the deal is not likely to be welcomed by the US - because of Tehran's suspected ambitions to build nuclear weapons.

I wondered how they could have stretched and tortured that logic to go from a pipeline to nukes. Then it hit me: aluminum tubes. The same people that brought us the tubes will now try to convince us that pipeline parts are actually going to be used to manufacture 'nukular missiles'.

WTF, the tea-partiers'll buy it.

Cantor Sings

AP: House leaders joust over use of parliamentary rule


Hoyer's Republican counterpart, Rep. Eric Cantor, acknowledged that such a process is permissible under House rules. . [but] said he couldn't understand why Democrats would use such a parliamentary detour with a bill of this magnitude and reach.

So after spending close to fifteen months, more hearings in more committees with more hours of debate than in the entire period of Reep-Rule, and using the most obstructionist tactics by one party in the history of the House, Cantor "can't understand"?

Quick, get that man a procto-neuro-surgeon.

Pew's State of the News Media 2010

State of the News Media 2010 - Introduction :

A new survey on online economics, released in this report for the first time, finds that 79% of online news consumers say they rarely if ever have clicked on an online ad.

Basic truisms: there is no other medium better suited to local advertising than a daily newspaper. There is no group of idiots less suited to the task than publishers of daily news. After at least 30 years of dealing with 'new' tech, and fifteen online, you'da thought these geniuses could grasp the concept of 'service', and of course 'local resources'. Nope.

Punditry: Got 'would'? 'If' only.

If the schedule being mapped last week holds;
If Mr. Obama falls short on health care;
“If they jam through health care,”;
If Mr. Obama and the Democrats succeed;
“If and when this is passed;
“If they pass it,” he said;
“If they pass nothing, their base;

Source: Peter Baker, The New York Times, 14 Mar 2010 (which made Max Fisher's Best Sunday Columns List).

No doubt in someone's universe this example of virtual ping-pong, a game played amongst and between players with 'air intellect', has meaning. But out here in the reality-based world the piece is just another example of the 'blahs'. There *is* good news though: at some point in the future the Times will go behind a pay wall, and it seems likely the publisher will price and label each article. If they do, we can finally lose the ping-pong-punditry and keep the actual news.

'Pro-choice' will mean choosing pros.

FLASH! Whitman A 'Swinger'!

Image @ Swingers Fanatics (the movie)

Jack Chang/sacbee:
Whitman hits Brown, Poizner at California GOP convention

SANTA CLARA – Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman came out swinging . . .

There it was, in print, in the State's 'Capitol' newspaper, the reep geek candidate 'coming out' as a swinger. Who'd a thunk it?

(What!?!?!? Whaddya mean, read it closer? Oh. Well, ok, I see that now. Jeez, man, untwist your shorts. It's only politics.)

The Truly Blind Shooting the Deaf & Dumb In the Foot

Peter Nichols/LAT:

Some advocates of an immigration overhaul warn that Latino voters will stay home in the November mid-term elections if the issue is delayed again.

So Obama meets with Schumer and Graham on immigration; Graham threatens to stuff the bill if the Senate uses reconciliation on HCR; the La Raza people walk in next saying they will likewise take their ball and go home if the Prez' doesn't act on immigration; leaving the rest of us to wonder if there is any intelligent life left in D.C. See?


Experts of the Unexpected, III

Image: Aerial View and Portraits of Poultry Farmer Experts - Petaluma, CA @ AllPosters

[Earlier installments here and here.]

Today's installment comes via Javier C. Hernandez/NYT: In a Surprise, U.S. Retail Sales Rose in February: Analysts had expected February’s unusual weather to take a large toll on sales.

Finding the 'Hidden' In Plain Sight

Start with The Dish: Unemployment by State, follow the link to Calculated Risk, and you'll get to the BLS: Regional and State Employment and Unemployment -- January 2010. Subscriptions available here.

Every agency of the Federal Government has the same setup. Save yourself time and energy: click once.